On Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees American women’s right to vote, was certified by Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby. Ratification and certification of this amendment meant that United States citizen could not be denied the right to vote on the basis of gender. This amendment was a long time in the making; it was first introduced in 1878 by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton but it took 41 years until Congress submitted the amendment to the states for ratification.
Women have come a long way, but it’s apparent that there is still a long way to go. With recent efforts by the Republican Party across numerous states to turn back the clock on voting rights, nobody can take for granted that the gains achieved in the hard-fought battles of the past will remain completely intact.
“We the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall, just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone, to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.”~ President Obama, Second Inauguration
Today is Women’s Equality Day. According to the National Women’s History Project, “At the behest of Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY), in 1971 the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day.” The observance of Women’s Equality Day not only commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, but also calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality.
Women have been taking steps and leaps towards full equality for generations — and now, it is just as important as ever, that women make their collective voices heard.